Eye-sight loss can be compensated by a proper usage of other senses. In this regard, ears play an important role. Ears hear to whatever is being spoken and blind people, in turn, see by listening. Scientists are using this feature of ears to vast the scope of targeted community towards the world. A very prodigious step in this regard was raised by Jim Thatcher in 1986. He created the first screen reader at IBM, called IBM Screen Reader (for DOS).
A Screen Reader is basically a software program that allows visually challenged people to use computer systems. It enables them to read the text that is displayed on the computer screen with a speech synthesizer or braille display. In short, screen reader behaves like talking-sight for the sightless people.
By time, technology steps forward and uplifts related communities with itself. Two nifty and well-known screen readers of today are JAWS and NVDA.
JAWS (Job Access With Speech) is a screen reader that was soon set to the track after launch. Although, JAWS was a costly and complicated software, yearly based updates made it desirable by blind community. Today’s JAWS allows all major functions of the Microsoft Windows operating system to be controlled with keyboard shortcuts and spoken feedback.
Anyways, concerned by the higher cost of commercial screen readers like JAWS, another software NVDA (Non Visual Desktop Access) was created in 2006. NVDA is as same as JAWS, but with a few remarkable features. NVDA is a free, open-source, portable screen reader for MS Windows that can also convert the text into braille if the computer user owns a device called a “braille display”. NVDA supports 44 languages including English. NVDA’s features are making it even more well-grounded than JAWS.
According to most Researchers, JAWS’ day-by-day failure, even after regular updates, is for it has a limited scope. While, NVDA, on the other hand has a very vast scope. It welfares not only the creators but also the users. People who had been using JAWS since 1995, are now switching to NVDA.
World contains innumerable such cases where a technology takes an amazing start but an end yelling: “I might not end if I served all!!!”. This is a point to ponder for all of us that if this world is called “world of technology”, then technology must also be for all. There must be no technology gap between rich and poor.